MH370 Debris Was Planted, Ineptly

Tiny colony
From the paper “Rapid, Long-Distance Dispersal by Pumice Rafting,” by Bryan et al.

In the weeks since MH370 debris began washing up in the Western Indian Ocean, I’ve struggled to understand the condition in which they were found. Particularly baffling were the three that washed ashore in Mozambique and South Africa, which were almost completely clean and free of marine fouling. I’ve talked to a number of marine biologists who study organisms that grow on floating debris, and they told me that given their pristine appearance these pieces couldn’t have floated for more than a few weeks.

Some observers have suggested that perhaps the objects had failed to pick up significant fouling because they drifted through waters that were too cold or low in nutrients, but further examination showed that this could not be the explanation.

One commenter on this blog suggested that the pieces were too shallow, or too small, to permit the growth of Lepas barnacles. This, too, is an unsuitable explanation, since Lepas can grow on bits of floating debris that are as small as a few centimeters across. The photograph above shows a small but vibrant community growing on a piece of pumice spewed from a volcano in Tonga; the largest Lepas (goose barnacle) in the image is 23 mm long.

In acknowledging the very obvious problem that this lack of biofouling presents, David Griffin of the Australian government’s science agency, CSIRO, has written (referring to the first Mozambique piece) that “this item is not heavily encrusted with sea life, so it has probably spent a significant length of time either weathering in the sun and/or washing back and forth in the sand at this or some other location. The time at sea is therefore possibly much less than the 716 days that have elapsed since 14 March 2014, and the path taken may have been two or more distinct segments.”

The idea then, is that these pieces washed across the Indian Ocean, were deposited on a beach, were picked over my crabs and other predators, bleached in the sun and scoured by wind and sand, the were washed back out to sea, then came ashore again within less than two weeks and were discovered.

One problem with this scenario is that while we might just about imagine a sequence of events happening to one piece, it seems incredible to imagine it happening to three pieces independently, in different locations and at different times. (To be fair to Dr Griffin, he proposed this idea at a time when only once piece had yet been found.)

Another problem with Dr Griffin’s idea is that no major storms took place in the two weeks preceding the discovery of each of the pieces in Mozambique and South Africa. Indeed, the region has been experiencing a drought.

In short, there is not plausible sequence of events by which the three pieces found in Africa could have arrived there by natural means.

What about the piece which turned up on Rodrigues Island? As I wrote in my blog post, the size of the barnacles blatantly contradict the possibility that the object was afloat for two years. And given that Rodrigues is surrounded by a reef, hundreds of miles from the nearest land, the idea that it might have washed ashore somewhere, gotten re-floated, and then came ashore again to be discovered is close to inconceivable.

Taken separately, these objects defy explanation. Taken together, however, they present a unified picture. Though discovered weeks and months apart, in locations separated by thousands of miles, they are all of a piece: they are all wrong. They do not look–at all!–like they should.

There is only one reasonable conclusion to draw from the condition of these pieces. Since natural means could not have delivered them to the locations where they were discovered, they must have been put there deliberately. They were planted.

In fact, we can go even further than that. Whoever put these pieces on the shores where they were discovered wasn’t even trying very hard. It would only have taken a little bit of imagination and a small amount of effort to put these pieces in the ocean for a few months to pick up a healthy suite of full-sized Lepas. This clearly was attempted in the case of the Rodrigues piece, but no effort at all was expended on the African pieces.

Why? Were they being lazy, or simply overconfident? Or did they know that it wouldn’t matter?

Perhaps the events of last July influenced their decision. After the flaperon was discovered on Réunion Island, it was whisked away by French authorities, given a cursory examination, and then hidden away. The public were never told what the investigators found, or didn’t find. No one seriously questioned whether the flaperon could really have come from a crash in the Southern Indian Ocean. (Well, almost no one.)

Six months later, the failure of the seabed search was looming. The Australian government had already begun saying that it might not find the plane, and preparing the public for the decision to call off the search. The narrative that the plane had nonetheless flown south to some unknown point in the southern Indian Ocean needed bolstering. Given how little inquiry had been directed at the Réunion piece, whoever planted the most recent four pieces might reasonably have assumed that the public would accept the new pieces uncritically, no matter how lackadaisical their preparation.

Maybe they were right. Past experience has shown that people have a remarkable ability to squint their eyes and avoid seeing the obvious ramifications of evidence plunked down in front of them. A good example was the seabed search that took place after acoustic pings were detected back in the spring of 2014. The frequency of pings was wrong, and the physical distribution of the pings indicated that they could not possibly have come from stationary wreckage. So it was clear from the data that the pings were not coming from black boxes. But numerous experts twisted themselves into knots explaining how the deep-sea hydroaccoustic environment was very weird, with salinity gradients and underwater valleys that channeled sound, and so on. I was on a panel on CNN one day when famed science communicator Bill Nye explained that the sound waves probably were refracted by passing through water masses of varying densities, and refraction causes frequencies to change. When you have to start changing the laws of physics to justify your interpretation of the data, it might be time to start looking for a new interpretation.

I’m not saying that people’s attempts thus far to explain the condition of the MH370 debris through non-nefarious means is misguided. Far from it–as the saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and when presented with evidence like the MH370 debris which invites such an uncomfortable (some will no doubt say outlandish) conclusion, it’s necessary to carefully rule out simpler explanations. However, once that has been done, we must not avert our eyes and say, “Well, I just can’t accept that conclusion, it’s not reasonable, there must be some explanation you’re missing,” or come up with a Nyeism that posits as explanation some phenomenon previously unknown to science.

If the MH370 investigation has taught us anything, is that restricting the discussion to “acceptable” explanations is a fatal trap. Early in the mystery, Duncan Steel hosted a discussion on his web site for people to exchange views and information. He had a rule, however: it was forbidden to discuss any scenarios which posited that the plane had been diverted intentionally, as he felt that this was disrespectful to the people on board. Of course, we now know that the plane was certainly diverted by someone on board, so effectively what Steel was outlawing was the discussion of any scenario that might possible be correct.

This mindset is alive and well. Recently on a discussion forum, one of the participants flatly stated that she was not interested in hearing about any theories that involve a hijacking. The ATSB has shown itself to be equally narrowminded. It has on multiple occasions declared that its interpretation of the Inmarsat data is unassailable. First it said that there was 100 percent chance that the plane was in the first 60,000 square km search area. When it turned out not to be, they drew a 120,000 sq km search area and declared that there was a 100 percent chance it was inside there. Come June, they will find (as we know now because of the condition of the African debris) that it is not there, either. Yet their recurring failure has not shaken their faith in their “reasonable” belief about what happened to the plane.

So maybe whoever planted the debris in Mozambique, South Africa, and Rodrigues weren’t lazy–maybe their understanding of human psychology simply allowed them to take the minimum steps necessary. Whether their calculation was accurate or not will now become apparent.


450 thoughts on “MH370 Debris Was Planted, Ineptly”

  1. @Brian

    It think you are looking at things from a different perspective than I am I am, and I cannot speak for others. In the Duncan days it was very much a “my way or the highway” attitude. Any paths not conforming to a constrained AP mode were rejected, and the person expressing any alternative view was simply told to “go elsewhere”.

    You seem to think you get to define what speculation is. When the IG speculates on the flight dynamics it is not speculation. It is called Occam’s Razor or “that is the way pilots fly airplanes”. When someone else speculates it is another matter entirely. I have not challenged Mike’s view of the flapper damage, nor have I challenged his view of the terminal dynamics. They are perfectly valid interpretations of the data. I don’t use those interpretations in my own thinking, not because I think they are wrong. I simply don’t know.

    What I do find strange is the IG aversion of causality or motive. That would be perfectly OK is there were a menu of possibilities. The reality is the original IG terminus had a null set relative to motive or causality. That does not work at all for me. Likewise there has been a very selective interpretation of the drift data by the IG IMO. Duncan went on to say that people holding opposing views either should know better or are not capable of knowing better. Don’t you find that a bit arrogant?

    In any case, I think you are looking at criticism from a very narrow and largely incorrect perspective. Certainly the contributions of the IG have provided me and others with a template that has been very helpful, and I certainly have no lack of appreciation for that.

  2. Jeff – well overdue that someone shook some IG members right up. In the beginning they were the gold standard for folks who were craning in to familiarize themselves with the technical issues. Now(some of them) just emerge to defend a line that is looking shaky, and they have ceased to look and sound like eminent scientists and have begun to sound like mere people. If you currently believed that Fugro missed the debris then surely it is case closed? What is the point of being here? The IG (for some) has ceased to be a vehicle for investigation and has become a pact for credit sharing, and it’s credit that is a long time coming and looking dimmer every day. Encyclopedic knowledge goes to waste if the mind is made up.

    And I know this will sound a bit rich from someone who can’t even trade on the same technical level but it’s become a bit of a yawn. They are still holding out hope re the search but ready to dismantle Fugro if it’s officially fruitless.

    Rand – so what’s your story old boy? Did the wife crack down on your computer time or did you write that novel?? If so I will have to invest in a copy and sit on this veranda here in the hills with the Margaret River Red and the Cockatoos loping by and read more about those “love sick crack addicts” – (Malaysian politicians).

  3. @Warren

    Here is how Pihero feels about flutter: From

    “I would not – by any means – call the condition of that flaperon as pristine or excellent, especially when it had lost at least 1/3 of its width.

    Flutter ? I’d like to be shown how this could be possible.

    Maybe he has yet to see Mr. Exner’s analysis? I’m laughing too, of course.

  4. Jeff, thank you for commenting prior on the zinc chromate theory. I searched your blog via Google quick and I see someone else pointed out the chromate hypothesis as recently as August when forensic speculation about the ‘biofouling’ began. I think in the sake of parsimony, you really need to accept this as a case of pilot suicide and let it go. On the other hand, you are getting great attention for this so have at it.

    Again I would caution you as a Russian paranoiac perhaps you are going too far to call this military. There is no way the plane wouldn’t have been picked up by the many military radar systems had it been flown north. Had it been flown low to avoid radar, it never would have had the fuel to make it to Kazakhstan. There are way too many parts for that theory to fit together.

    Just like there “are too few parts” (bad pun) to suggest anything like a shoot down of the plane over Diego Garcia for example by the US. It is equally implausible to blame Russia.

    The evidence found so far is consistent with water landings and controlled ditching presumably in a glide scenario. For someone like Shah who has evidence of flights to the region on his simulator, who had radio controlled aircraft which landed on water, and who fashioned himself an ace pilot in the post-Sullenberger era of hero pilots, I think you have clues to your real parsimonious answer there.

    Maybe Malaysia Airlines did not have tight controls on pilot behavior due to the reverence that country has for pilots and that is why Shah was able to get away with it, and why the other pilot on MH17 used poor judgement and flew over an active warzone where planes had recently been shot down. That is a more plausible link connecting the (presumable) downings of these two planes.

    But back to the chromate as this is clearly important and take a minute to consider this as most parsimonious before you embarrass yourself further.

    Boeing apparently uses primers and paint compounds which contain zinc chromate, useful in the sense it is toxic (ie prevents biofouling), but principally because it is an anti-corrosive for the metal parts of the plane. It is a maintenance reducing design consideration.

    You wisely pointed out that there is not much aircraft aluminum in the parts however if the paint or primer itself contains chromate or chromate compounds in order to deter corrosion / biomass accumulation then that explains why the clams/mussels have formed only on the broken pieces which presumably were never treated with some chromate-like primer or paint treatment.

    ” Pat Janssen
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 2:01 AM

    I was interested how clean the flaperon and the fragment found at Vabbinfaru were so I had a look at the composition of aerospace paints. The paint that would have been used on a plane of mh370 vintage would have contained chromate. In a marine environment, this would have acted as a mild anti-foulant.

    Apparently, the gooseneck barnacle can survive in the intertidal zone so it really doesn’t need to be continuously submerged to survive.
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    @Pat Janseen, We’ve discussed the intertidal zone issue and the consensus seems to be that Wikipedia is wrong on this point; goose barnacles do not live in the intertidal zone.”

  5. Since we all got into a state of flutter over planting the flaperon and other debris.. Just looking ahead to next topic??

  6. For those who believe that engine flame out means no hydraulics and therefore precursor to flutter I offer the following.

    The extracts are from a 747 accident where the number 1 engine was shut down and hydraulic system 1 relying solely on the windmilling engine for hydraulic power. In this accident the nose gear failed to extend for landing.

    “Data provided by Boeing indicated that at an aircraft speed of approximately 210 knots (speed at which the landing gear extension was initiated), the engine-driven pump driven by a windmilling engine would still be capable of providing approximately 11–12 gallons per minute of hydraulic flow at the system pressure of 3,000 pounds per square inch. The flow would be reduced to approximately 6–7 gallons per minute of useful flow, when allowance is made for Boeing’s estimation of the system’s internal leakage rate.”

    The number 1 system on the 747 powers the following:
    -Nose gear
    -Inboard main gears
    -Left inboard and outboard ailerons
    -Left outboard and right inboard elevator
    -Upper rudder

    “The high demand of simultaneous gear and flap movement would have been beyond the immediate capability of the number one engine pump.”

    “Had the system pressure been allowed to stabilise on the nominal value, the actuator probably would have eventually unlocked, despite the nose landing gear door actuator requiring higher than specified pressure. The nominal system pressure could only be achieved if flap movement ceased, redirecting pressure and flow to the nose landing gear.”


  7. Mitchell Hedges – on anti fouling – is there anything stopping the use of chromate in marine applications? Plenty of exasperated boat owners out there.

    Simulator – no one yet has been able to verify just what was on Shah’s computer. If you can please share?

    RC planes on water – I knew an airline pilot who flew kites like a little boy. And another who milled wood in his shed for relaxation. I think they are often given to their quirky pursuits. Does landing a toy on the water really prepare you to lose a 777?

  8. Mitchell: you write wonderfully, but why are you particularly wedded to a Zaharie suicide scenario? I had at one point conjured up one last seven-hour, solo pot-fest in the cockpit, with the Stones cranked up loud, but then had discarded this notion when respect for both Zaharie and the NOK returned to my awareness, and I had further considered matters of precedent.

    Matty: Pondering the circs and scribbling about MH370 produced considerable opportunity costs in terms of my small business, my marriage, my novel and even my meditation practice; it was across the board, good buddy. As for “love sick crack addicts,” did I write that? Not bad; I need to write that one down.. Oh, and rather unfortunately, I have stopped drinking, while I still open and pour.

    Littlefoot: a bit of shameless flattery will get you everywhere with me.

  9. @Mitchell Hedges

    Thanks. Just Thanks. And now for some more REALITY:

    “Why did the ATSB go with an unresponsive pilot theory when it was obvious to airline professionals that the aircraft was under control when it turned southwest three minutes after the captain said good night to Kuala Lumpur air traffic control, and was still in control 90 minutes later when it turned south just north of Sumatra?

    This is something that the amateurs on here and social media never seem it get. At the professional level (and I most certainly do not mean Jeff Wise), there is virtually no debate as to what caused this event.

    Since the months after the accident, it has been clear to any pilot on type, and most Boeing pilots for that matter, what actions must have occurred on the flight deck to bring this aircraft from the point of its last transmission to the FMT given the factual information. This sequence of events, while perplexing to those trying to decipher Boeing manuals like hieroglyphs, requires no special skill set and could be accomplished by any competent 777 pilot who knew well the system he was trying to manipulate.

    This widely held idea that there is some massive mystery surrounding this event and that we as an industry have no idea what could have happened is a real point of frustration for a lot in the industry – especially since the media just adds fuel to the fire (no pun intended). It makes us seem incompetent and clueless, when in fact the vast majority of us see no mystery at all. Just politics and companies and governments trying to cover their failures and liabilities.

    Many of the “reports” or serious posts online that come out from people with the balls to call themselves aviation experts are laughable. Many of these people’s (including former government officials on CNN and prominent MH370 bloggers) only qualifications on anything transportation related are their state issued drivers licenses.

    I strongly believe, as do my airline colleagues, that MH370 captain Zaharie Shah deliberately planned and executed this mission to hijack the aircraft and attempted to cover this up by ditching in as ­remote a location as possible, in the most unsurveyed, inaccessible place on Earth 6km deep so it would not be found and his crime of murder would remain unsolved.

    Whoever this author is, he’s right. And to add to that, why the SIO? The captain learned from those before him who failed and got caught. He learned from the “mistakes” of the SilkAir and EgyptAir pilots and found a way to cleverly cover his actions. As for motive, we will likely never know, but in most cases there isn’t a good answer that question anyway.

    Maybe our host will one day pivot genuinely towards Malaysia, Zaharie, and the internal political dynamic that was the catalyst (and reason) for Zahrie’s mass murder/suicide.

    Do the right thing Jeff.

  10. Matt – You said – “Maybe our host will one day pivot genuinely towards Malaysia, Zaharie, and the internal political dynamic that was the catalyst (and reason) for Zahrie’s mass murder/suicide. Do the right thing Jeff.

    Why is this the right thing? And what is in it for you?

    People have always come along and argued passionately out of conviction from day one, but if you are right then something absolutely new has occurred, something that has every psychologist going for the books and you make very light work of it. No precedent, just plenty of question marks.

    The hang Shah advocates have built up a pretty complex personal profile and motive set for this man and they did it out of thin air – excepting the absence of a plane.

  11. @Matty

    You said-“Why is this the right thing to do”.

    I think the answer is fairly self-evident. You beg to differ. So be it.

    In it for me? Just the truth. Greater focused scrutiny in the proper place would only be good thing. You beg to differ. So be it.

    Your statement about ‘every psychologist going for the books’ is, respectfully, a laughable fallacy. Planned mass murder/suicide for ideological reasons has been around for centuries. These acts are almost always committed to further political goals, and are usually but not always accompanied by a religious component.

    That a 777 was at Zaharie’s disposal is the only element that differentiates this from thousands of other mass murder/suicides. It;s really not a lofty concept.

  12. I found an old (1940) video about flutter by the NACA Langley Research Centre:

    The takeaway: flutter requires the presence of two or three modes of oscillation
    – bending (wing up and down)
    – torsion (wing twisting around it’s axis
    – aileron oscillation

    The first two of these modes can be seen in the bridge and Cessna videos of flutter.

    Now me thinks
    – a failure induced by a flutter situation dominated by the first mode, bending, would result in a break across the wing or wing section (in line with the plane’s axis)
    – a failure induced … dominated by the second mode, torsion, would result in a break at an angle to the wing axis
    – the third mode would allow for a break in direction of the aileron/flaperon axis, for example if that section would repeatedly be run again a dead stop of maximum positive or negative deflection (not sure, if such exist).

    It is hard to see, how the aileron/flaperon flutter mode could produce high enough stresses within the aileron/flaperon itself to break it along the clean line apparent on the Reunion flaperon without first either ripping out the hinges or damaging other nearby structures.

    Given the above, the flaperon damage, for me does not gel with “flutter”.

  13. @Brian Anderson

    Could that remarkable team attack this article about planted debris?

    @Mitchell Hedges

    “Maybe Malaysia Airlines did not have tight controls on pilot behavior”

    This is a blatant lie. It is of great social status to become an airline pilot in that country, even covert in the mainstream news.

    “the other pilot on MH17 used poor judgement and flew over an active warzone”

    They had a preset route to follow. They were told when closing in to change route. The pilots were not in on this massmurder.


    “I strongly believe, as do my airline colleagues, that MH370 captain Zaharie Shah deliberately planned and executed this mission to hijack the aircraft”

    He spent months hoping one day he would get to fly this particulary route so he could turn the plane around and crash it in less an half a day.

  14. I think the pilot knew about inmarsat pings. I think he went down and rebooted so he could be tracked. Hoping that searchers would find the dangerous cargo.

  15. matt – mass murder/suicide is nothing new. I hope you didn’t interpret I was saying it was. In fact it’s so well known and studied that they can apply all they know about it and MH370 sticks out.

    The Shah crowd are not very trustful of psychology and fair enough, but they then indulge in a lot of home spun analysis of their own.

    Some queries might be:

    If a suicide run – whats wrong with the Pacific. There would have been no viable search and no plane.

    If flying over Malaysia to make a statement – why go dark? There was no way the RMAF would have shot it down with transponder working at 35,000 feet – in fact maybe never as we now know. Why implicate Thai radar if this was a domestic Malaysian issue?

    So he wanted the govt to know he took it, in which general direction, but to never find it? You could go on, but this is what I mean by psychologists going for the books.

  16. Jeff,
    One thing that puzzles me.
    How did they break up those pieces if they took them from the real MH370?
    I assume they had landed the aircraft intact.
    One other observation:
    We believed it went to the 7th arc in the SIO as opposed to the northern 7th arc only because of the BFO which is simply because the BFO contains mostly the velocity vector of the satellite (most of the a/c velocity is compensated, i.e. removed). Simply subtracting the satellite component (which is well known) and then adding it back in the opposite sense (180 deg phase shifted) would alter the BTO in such a way as to make it look as though an a/c north of the sub sattelite point is on the same track but symetrically south of it. Obviously only for the latter part of the flight. As you and others have stated, the BTO can not easily be altered so termination close to the 7th ring is likely.
    I also have a thought on how the BFO might have been altered, a different method that I don’t recal having seen mentioned. Your not short of theories for that so I might mention it another time.
    Good post btw.

  17. Matt: You said: “captain Zaharie Shah deliberately planned and executed this mission to hijack the aircraft and attempted to cover this up by ditching in as ­remote a location as possible,”

    There is a leap that you have made here; can you see it?

    Consider that perhaps Zaharie did hijack the aircraft while the SIO was not the intended destination for the diversion at IGARI. Meanwhile, we can safely say that all aircraft take off (or are diverted) with a destination in the mind of the pilot.

    So, if we begin with a ranking of the probability for various destinations post-diversion, what do we find?

    21st graphical projections of remote wildernesses and unfathomably deep oceans can produce an a subtle emotional response and otherwise manipulate our cognitive processes along the very same trajectory that virtual reality is now certainly taking us. In other words, the SIO could simply be a named ocean on a planet largely covered with water, while the aircraft happened to head south and fly to the point of fuel exhaustion where the flight terminated in that same ocean. It’s either this depth structure or the depth structure of “captain Zaharie Shah deliberately planned and executed this mission to hijack the aircraft and attempted to cover this up by ditching in as ­remote a location as possible.”

    This structure is much more complicated and could perhaps be indicative of your working role as a pilot. A pilot who betrayed the public trust and tarnished his profession would at the very least ‘do the right thing’ by burying his shame along with his victims in some remote location, would he not?

    And, yes, I am a dyed-in-the-wool rank amateur member of the peanut gallery with nothing more than 800,000 miles with United, and then flying mostly in the cheap seats. 200,000 more to go to get my lifetime seat up front…

    Be nice to our host. Please.

  18. From Susie’s link :

    “That manufacturer’s fasteners were not used in current production, but did match the fasteners used in assembly of the aircraft next in the production line (405) to 9M-MRO (404)”

    How do you explain that?

  19. @Gilbreght. Some caution about whether the loss of the rear of the flaperon would halt its flutter. Boeing calculations analysing the Silk Air crash (see investigation report)suggested that flutter occurred twice to elevators and horizontal stabiliser. After some parts were shed other parts separated later at a different frequency and probably higher airspeed. Calculations though, not empirical…
    A thought in the other direction. One shot of MH17 wreckage in the hangar depicts what looks like a flaperon but in fact Don Thompson of the IG identified it as the outer section of the left outer flap. By my reading it was misidentified even further by the Dutch investigation as the left inner flap rear section, which was plotted as proximate to where the wing and remaining fuselage hit the ground. If I interpret what happened correctly this outer flap section (and possibly the right) were thrown clear on impact, the inner flaps and flaperons being burnt with much of the inner wreckage. It has little obvious damage other than the break in its length. If the French are wondering what caused the MH370 flaperon separation with little damage to teh leding section and are conscious of this “precedent” they might have their hands full in establishing any cross-relevance between the two.
    OZ. interesting about windmilling hydraulic supply. Relating this to the flaperon, with RAT deployed the outboard flaperon actuator will be live having both electrics and hydraulics. The inboard will have neither and will be in by-pass I believe so just the one will be operative. Naturally this will influence its response to flutter stimulation.
    Jeff Wise. Do you think the evidence in support of the two parts examined by the ATSB being from a Malaysia Airlines 777 is decisive? Or do you think the stencil markings counterfeit?

  20. @Ge Rijn
    Maybe that’s what they mean… but that’s not what they say…

    Here is how I understand it :
    Fastner type A was supposed to be used on plane A (404). Fastner type B was used on plane B (405). Fastner B is on the piece of debris thought to belong to plane A!

    So either it is cross contamination on assembly line…

    Or the piece of debris doesn’t belong to plane A.

    Just out of curiosity plane 405 is :

    Boeing 777 – MSN 33169 – 4X-ECD
    Airline El Al

  21. Hmm. I just posted a link to that and the post has disappeared.

    Anyway yes it’s an active El Al.

  22. What I think the ATSB is trying to say, Sinux, is that without 9M-MRO to compare the fastener to, and given that they are not current in manufacture of the T7, the best thing they have to compare it to is the next T7 produced which is as you say, 4X-ECD.

    I hope that clarifies things a bit. They would hardly have concluded that it is almost certainly from MH370 if they were stating otherwise.

  23. They could have compared it to #403 as well if they had wanted to, I imagine, just to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.

    That’s reggo HL 7700 (Asiana) for its sins.

  24. To avoid confusions:
    This would not be the often cited mysterious defunct twin plane 9M-MRI, which was last seen on a hangar in Tel Aviv but an active airplane flying for El Al. Things are getting ever more confusing…

  25. @Susie, you may be right in what they are trying to say in this report. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they came to the correct conclusion.
    As I said, it’s confusing.

  26. @sinux.
    The manufacteror could be traced. In currant production the fasteners used in plane 404 (9M-MRO)and 405 (the plane build just after 404) are not used anymore.
    The fasteners used on later production build planes are therefore not supposed or expected to be found on the piece found.
    And so it is. An older model of fastener is found in the 404 (9M-MRO) piece just like the one shown in the picture next to it which I suppose belongs to the 405.
    Nothing mysterieus here.
    The piece is imo confirmed 9M-MRO now.

  27. @steve,

    Thanks for your reply!

    Plane 400 and plane 404 were, as expected, produced at around the same time so it’s reasonable if the Reunion flaperon was considered a candidate for both during the French investigation.

    The flaperon identification process seemed suspicious at that time and will continue to be so until the DGA-TA publish a signed formal report. We are in a criminal investigation and Jeff and Victor trust in the confidential docs they were shown is not legally acceptable evidence.

    Some points of concern raised in the past were:

    * the Malaysian PM “confirmation” made it difficult for the French government to say otherwise without insulting him

    * the French confirmation was made by a prosecutor not a judge, i.e. a clerk not an independent man sworn to justice

    * the confirmation came a day after the French thought they got a deal to sell fighter planes to Malaysia. They were talking for years on a 16 planes deal but suddenly it got up to 18

    * it’s not clear if the internal number was sufficient to determine that the flaperon was installed on MH370. Was the internal number a batch/lot number? Was the identification based on any assumptions?

    * the flaperon was modified contrary to MAS records and Boeing directions, that’s why Boeing and the NTSB had “doubts” and refused to confirm it. How this problem was resolved? MAS had good reputation in the past and its records were supposed to be reliable.

    * the flaperon looks like it was intentionally mutilated (using an hydraulic press and hammer?) because it didn’t pass a check. There are several scraped 777s around and a new factory in India.

    * JW research threw serious doubts on the flaperon maritime history

    Regarding the history of plane 400 it seems it was withdrawn from use and stored by Asiana Airlines on 13 June 2015 and started serving the Spanish company Privilege Style (a sub-contractor of El Al Airlines) on 18/09/2015. However the deal transferring the plane from Asiana to Privilege seems to have been already signed on November 5, 2014. Note that the Reunion flaperon was discovered on 29th July 2015 and at Asiana the flaperons were probably painted white not gray like in MAS.

    We should consider what we know about MH370 disappearance. A Singaporean airborne radar saw the “air turn back” and another(?) was present near the FMT a short time after. These little known facts and other indications may suggest that Singapore was involved in some way. If involved it’s likely that Singapore did it for an ally and there is a well-known historical one. Of course these are just wild speculations but there is some circumstantial evidence supporting them.

  28. @Ge Rijn, maybe it is as you say, maybe it isn’t. But these things should be checkable. There should be documents on what kind of fastener they used for plane 404. If it’s the same as for plane 405, then there is indeed no problem at all. But I do hope they’ve done their homework and haven’t just assumed in good faith that the same kind of fastener must’ve been used for 404 since the alternative – that the part didn’t come from 9M-MRO is unthinkable.

  29. Regarding Fastenergate, it appears to be (yet another?) instance where the conclusion is stated without adequate respect for enquiring minds such as ours. I guess a few people didn’t oblige their grade school teachers way back when they were children and requested to ‘show their work’!

  30. @airlandseaman,

    I get a “content not found” error when following your link. Could you please check the link or copy/paste what Blaine is saying? Ta.

  31. @Rand, isn’t that the story of mh370 in a nutshell?
    Clearly, our overly inquisitive minds are at fault here 🙂

  32. @littlefoot.
    Assuming the ATSB did not do their homework on this one properly for any (dark) reason would be the most amaturisch thing to do imo. They would put their whole credibility and name on the line on an item that’s quite easy to be checked by any random maintainance crew all over the world and I guess it won’t be to difficult to find the item on the internet somewhere too (I’ll try).

    But if people insist looking for a conspiracy even behind the most obvious and clear information then there’s always a way to twist things around so much as to make it fit into what you want to believe.

    Probably plane 398 and 412 had the same fasteners also. It’s not important imo if 405 was sold to ElaL or 400 to Iran (?). 402 might been sold to the KLM. 404 was sold to MAS. It doesn’t matter.

    The Flap-fairing and the H.stabilizer piece are imo confirmed. That’s what counts.
    From their on you’ve got two choices.
    Or you keep wasting time on what kind of new conspiracy could be behind this info,
    or you could start excepting the conclusions stated and use this information in an objective way to try and solve the questions that are raised by it.

    In Holland we have a saying; ‘searching for nails on low tide’. Don’t no if there is a Englisch version but I guess you get the meaning of it.

  33. @Ge Rijn, while your explanations re: the use of fastener is probably perfectly correct, your comment isn’t quite appropriate. You don’t get by in life by assuming that everything is done correctly. Unfortunately that is not the case most of the time. That has absolutely nothing to do with thinking conspiracy. If I review a report I expect to find documentation and/or assurances that certain things have been checked. If the point in question isn’t addressed, I will ask: “Have you done your homework and checked this?” I wouldn’t just assume that it has been checked because I would’ve done so. That’s all. While I have serious doubts about the newly found debris because of the questions raised by Jeff and others, I don’t suspect anything nefarious from the ATSB. That seems to be your assumption 😉

  34. @ROB, I didn’t want to raise this point, but since you did….:) It’s not as if they have a shining record of utmost diligency.

  35. People seem concerned that LN 405 was used to match the fastener for LN 404. I would be more concerned if the fasteners for LN 404 did NOT match LN 405. I don’t see anything worrisome there.

    On the other hand, I do wonder how the ATSB was able to get that picture of the fastener for the horizontal stabilizer panel of the El Al aircraft. Is El Al participating in the investigation? Also, the condition of the fastener and the surrounding skin looks much worse for the El Al aircraft than for MH370.

  36. I thought that too, Victor – the El Al one is shocking. It looks like it’s been attacked with a small grinder or something.

    Certainly makes the found one look pretty sparkly.

  37. @All I’ve never seen an anti-fouling paint that would work for 2 years. Boeing developed their own “paint” called Boeshield, for exterior coating. See website as this site can’t post 2 links in the same comment.

    “Theoretically there’s a solution to these problems: special prop paint, replete with biocides designed to make propellers inhospitable to most any invasive sea organism. I say theoretically because there is some doubt as to the effectiveness and durability of such paint. As one hard-core boater told me while I was researching this story, “One year, we had antifouling paint on one of our twin props and left the other one bare. By the end of the season, they looked exactly the same as far as barnacle growth.”

  38. @Victor. I was also puzzled by those fastener pics.I thought it looked like they got the captions the wrong way around?

  39. @ Ge Rijn:
    Apparently you don’t see the need for further discussion on any of the points being considered here. So out of curiosity, why are you still tracking the discussion? Do you feel the need to convince others that the case is closed?

Comments are closed.